(Houston, Texas) – This National Preparedness Month, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) reminds residents that disasters can strike anywhere and anytime. Knowing basic safety and disaster skills can mean the difference between life and death.
“Everyone should take the time to learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid,” said Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Sloan. “If you know practical survival skills, you can help your family and others.”
HCOHSEM works closely with Harris County Citizen Corps to provide training and volunteer opportunities for area residents. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program for example, educates volunteers about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
“During a disaster, first responders may not be able to arrive immediately, so people will have to rely on each other,” added Sloan. “If they are trained, they can provide critical support until help arrives.”
Other basic things that residents should do to protect their families and homes:
- Eliminate common electrical and fire hazards around your house and property.
- Install smoke, carbon monoxide and natural gas alarms and test them monthly.
- Teach children what to do when the alarms go off.
- Discuss two ways out of your home in the event of a fire and practice evacuation plans.
- Know how to turn off the water and natural gas utilities in your home.
- Develop and practice a family communication plan and discuss it with your family.
- Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work and in the car.
- Pay attention to alerts and warnings from trusted sources.
It is important to stay informed before, during and after a disaster. Sign up to receive weather and emergency alerts at www.readyharris.org and monitor the news for updates. Residents can also follow ReadyHarris on Facebook and Twitter.
For additional information about Harris County Citizen Corps and the CERT program visit HarrisCountyCitizenCorps.com.